For 14 years, Pastor Johnny Carr was a full-time minister who served several different churches ranging in size from 100 to 1,700 weekly attendees. In his last full time church staff position, Johnny was the Pastor of Ministry and Leadership Development at Hillcrest Baptist Church in Pensacola, Florida. While at Hillcrest, he led the church in establishing its first orphan care and adoption ministry, which sponsored mission trips and other events to encourage involvement from the congregation. Many children have been adopted in by church members, some have left comfortable jobs to serve children full time, and the church has partnered internationally to better care for orphans as a result of this ministry.
From 2007 – 2013 Johnny served as the first National Director of Church Partnerships at Bethany Christian Services. Bethany is the largest adoption and orphan care agency in the United States. Johnny is now focusing on speaking on behalf of children with special needs that need to be adopted.
Pastor Johnny married Beth, a deaf educator, in March 1993. The couple now has five children: Heather, Jared, James, Xiaoli, and JJ. James and Xiaoli were both adopted from China and are deaf. JJ (also deaf and a medically complex child) was adopted by the Carr’s through the foster system. It was during the adoption of James that God began speaking to the Carrs about committing their lives to orphan care.
Johnny is a conference speaker and orphan care advocate to denominations, national religious associations and conferences including Saddleback Church, Catalyst Conference, The Idea Camp, Q Ideas, and others. He is also author of Orphan Justice that challenges churches to rethink how they have handled social justice issues directly related to orphan care (March 2013). He and his wife have visited many orphanages and have also helped bring attention to a deaf school in central China that was in dire need of aid. Today the school is better than it has ever been and all of the teachers and their families are now believers in Jesus Christ.
Johnny believes that the Church must take the lead in the world’s orphan crisis. His goal is to inspire the Church to truly understand and obey James 1:27, which calls believers to care for orphans.